The Decatur Daily reports that law enforcement will be searching for drunk drivers through Labor Day weekend, another effort by the police to track down DUI drivers in Birmingham and throughout Alabama.
As we've said before in the Alabama DUI Lawyer Blog, these concentrated efforts by police aren't necessarily a great idea. For one, these officers are told they must make DUI arrests. Imagine if state and local authorities spent thousands of dollars on overtime, telling the media and public they are going to do DUI enforcement and then when asked for their numbers, they arrested only a handful of people for DUI? There would be many questions about what they did with all that time and effort.
And because officers are working overtime hours and must stay out on patrol all night, sometimes their judgement — just like the judgement of the average driver — can be poor. Officers can slip up and make arrests either without probable cause or without affording drivers the rights they deserve under the law. If either of those things happen, an experienced Birmingham DUI Defense Lawyermust be hired to point out those problems.
According to the article in Decatur, authorities there, as well as police throughout the state and nation, will be participating in the “Drunk Driving: Over the Limit, Under Arrest” campaign that authorities conduct around every major holiday. The campaign started August 19 and will run through Labor Day weekend, the first weekend in September.
Officers will be using increased patrols and roadblocks to target drunk drivers, authorities said. Driving drunk means operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher. That's the state's legal limit.
As the Alabama DUI Lawyer Blog pointed out recently, Alabama authorities held 2,500 roadblocks in 2010, a huge amount of resources that could have been used in other needed areas.
As Birmingham DUI Defense Lawyers have said before, roadblocks are a violation of a driver's Fourth Amendment right to not be subjected to unreasonable search and seizure. Unfortunately, in previous U.S. Supreme Court cases, the justices have ruled that DUI checkpoints aren't a violation of that right.
Drivers unknowingly have their lives interrupted while police block off a street, usually a busy thoroughfare, and inspect every vehicle, regardless of probable cause to make the stop.
Officers usually shine bright flashlights into the vehicle, ask for a driver's license and make observations, such as the driver's speech, reaction time, whether the eyes appear glassy or otherwise show signs of alcohol use.
And that's all it takes for an officer to ask the driver to step out of the vehicle and begin conducting a DUI investigation. By failing a series of field sobriety tests or blowing into a mobile breath testing device that gives an estimation above the .08 legal limit, a person can be sent to jail and under arrest for DUI, which can ruin careers, cost money and lead to jail time.
But that doesn't mean a person should just give up. There are many aspects of DUI defense that can help a person get a good resolution to their case or beat the charges altogether. Don't try to fight it alone.
More Blog Entries:
Alabama Authorities Held 2,500 DUI Roadblocks in 2010: August 11, 2011
Hundreds Arrested For DUI During Fourth of July Weekend: July 11, 2011
Police kick off campaign targeting drunk drivers, by Seth Burkett, Decatur Daily